ARE YOU SET UP TO WIN?
How one athlete’s intensive training journey shaped his view on injury prevention.
By Alexandria Pankratz of RightBlue Labs, in an interview with Team Canada Rower, Matt Christie.
Rower Matt Christie in his element.
“We were set up to win from day one.”
Matt Christie loves to row. Since the age of 12, Christie has excelled at the sport. He has represented Canada multiple times, won several awards including Rookie Athlete of the Year, MVP awards, and achieved the pinnacle of varsity athletics, in the form of winning the Canadian University Championships.
Who is Matt Christie?
Born in 1993, Matt Christie has committed his life to rowing, which has been reflected in the significant recognition of his talent and dedication. Not only was Christie awarded Queen’s University 2011 Rookie Athlete of the Year, he capped his varsity career with Lightweight Men’s Rowing MVP title earlier this year at Western University. The highlight of Christie’s career so far is a notable international appearance – in 2013, he raced for Team Canada at the U23 World Rowing Championships.
Christie’s Hard-Won Athleticism
Growing up in Ottawa, Christie stumbled upon rowing simply by chance. His father was a rower back in university, which prompted the previously unathletic Christie to try rowing as a way to get into shape.
At the age of 11 he decided to join his local rowing team, the Ottawa Rowing Club. He immediately began to witness his body transform. Christie notes that his favourite thing about the sport is the fact that, “it is always changing and it’s never stagnant.” Not only did Christie’s self-esteem grow, but the once 5’4’’, 185lb tween fell in love with the sport.
Not Your Typical University Experience
Most students graduate high school and look forward to “life as an undergraduate.” This brings to mind exams, parties, and not being too fussed about the future. Christie certainly did not live this typical university experience.
After graduating high school, Christie went on to row for the Queen’s University Varsity Men’s Team, where he cultivated his skills for the sport. He finished his varsity career for the Western University Varsity Men’s Team, contributing to Western’s provincial and national championship sweep. He spent his years waking up at 4:30 a.m. for practice and accomplished more than your typical student does, all before 8 a.m. Upon graduation earlier this year, Christie has continued at Western University, pursuing his Master’s degree.
Matt Christie is pictured with his Western University rowing team.
2013 Under 23 World Championships
“Wow. If I can make it to this level, how far can I make it in this sport?” thought Christie, as he represented Canada in the U23 World Championships in Linz, Austria. Wearing the Canadian colours sparked the realization that he wanted nothing more than the opportunity to race for the country again.
Train Too Hard and You’ll Regret It
Coming off the exhilaration in Austria, Christie began to experience drawbacks from overtraining. Referring to it as, “a bummer for that summer,” Christie found out he had a hernia. He discovered that he had neglected proper recovery during his training, which had resulted in him burning out, and the eventual injury. Christie received the devastating news a mere week and a half before tryouts for the National Team. Had he been more aware of his well-being and recovery, the injury could have avoided.
Why Should I Track My Training?
Athlete monitoring is the foundation behind sport performance. Athletes like Christie push themselves every day to reach their full potential, both personal and in competition. Maintaining a training journal ensures a detail-oriented and deliberate mentality toward sport.
Burnout and injury are often the result of overemphasis on reaching the next level. A coaching tool like like LOGIT, which tracks recovery and wellbeing daily, is beneficial to both athletes and coaches. Christie is a dedicated user of LOGIT, logging his session and recovery details every day for the past season.
LOGIT has helped Christie take his training to another level. “In the past I tried to do my own workout recordings but I never really cared about it. I never thought of things like nutrition, hydration, or how I slept. Since using the system, I am more aware about how I am recovering.”
How Will Using LOGIT Benefit Me?
LOGIT is a web-enabled app designed to bridge the communication gap between coaches and athletes. It tracks your sleep patterns, how well you’re hydrating, stress levels, and overall perception of health. LOGIT also allows you to set personal goals and to visualize your process towards them. It takes only 45 seconds to log your daily session and 30 seconds to grade your wellbeing. Just doing some fast math here, but that is only 75 seconds out of the other 86,400 seconds you have in a day.
LOGIT Transformed Christie’s Game
Christie began to see that LOGIT helped him craft a consistent routine and made sure he left nothing out of his vigorous training schedule. LOGIT is also beneficial to coaches. Without a systematic way to track wellbeing and progress, it is virtually impossible to correct weaknesses.
LOGIT helps coaches gauge training loads and intervene at the right time before athletes experience injury, illness or burnout. A coaching dashboard shows the personal progress of each athlete which helps the coach understand the mental wellness of their team, even the most amateur level of training.
Coaches have a dedicated dashboard outlining key areas of health improvements and injury risks.
Are You Set Up To Win?
Prior to going to Western University, Christie never brought home a banner. Christie believes that Western has done everything right to create a winning team. They promote a positive mindset for all their athletes and the team is extremely close-knit. “We were set up to win from day one,” said Christie. The coaches also contribute a lot to the winning mentality of the team. They have a very good relationship with their athletes and do everything they can to set them up for success. Christie’s end goal is to make it to the 2020 Olympics and the team at LOGIT Sport are going to help him take his training to the next level.